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Romans 5: Our new relationship with God
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The chapter in detail

Righteousness and "getting right" with God (verses 1-2, 9-11)

Adam: why we need a savior (verses 12-14)

Jesus and Adam (verses 15-19) Paul says several times that Jesus is not like Adam. They are opposites. Jesus and Adam are opposites not only in that one sinned and the other removed it, but also opposite in their affect on us. Sin leaves us powerless, but Christ frees us from this power.

How our relationship with Jesus helps us in times of persecution and trouble (Verses 3-5)

Our new relationship with God (Verses 20-21)

What Jesus did Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful. No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful. (Verses 6-8, CEV)

Christ died for those who hadn't yet believed in him. This is remarkable, because it is more than what an ordinary human would do. It's not as if Christ died as the head of an army of people who already followed him. As Paul points out people do give their lives, but it is usually for something they dearly love, and has loved them back: their family or their country for example.

Would you give your life for a stranger? Or for an enemy? People do that sometimes as well, but we think that is remarkable and call those people heroes. By putting Jesus in this light, Paul is trying to show that Jesus is the ultimate hero because he died for all of humanity.

If you were the stranger or the enemy, and someone gave their life to save yours, wouldn't that have an effect on you? Nothing could take away that gift that the person gave. You'd carry it with you the rest of your life. This is what Paul is trying to describe.

Why is this chapter called great? What is the core of the story Christians tell? It has been described as "the story of what Jesus did, and what it meant." In this chapter Paul concisely recounts the essence of what Jesus did – die for us. Most of the chapter, however, is explaining "what it meant." Paul’s theme is how our relationship with God has been restored because of what Jesus did.

The greatness of this chapter lies in the way Paul summarizes the essence of this message.

A key verse Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful.

This is a key concept. If we’d been nice to God and then God had been nice to us, this would just be a bargain or an agreement. We’d worry if we’d been nice enough to deserve God’s friendship, or if being bad would end the agreement. But Paul emphasizes that God (in Jesus) died for us before we’d done anything or promised to do anything. This proves that God is offering us a free gift out of love for us..

If you liked this chapter Three other chapters in Romans also give summaries of the new situation of Christians. Chapter 3 takes up the subject from the point of view of grace. Chapter 6 expands on the ideas Paul discusses in verses 12 to 21 of chapter 5. Chapter 8 starts by asserting that there is "no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." This expands on the concepts of verses 1 to 11 of chapter 5.

About the book called The Letter of Paul to the Romans
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In Conclusion

Here are some questions that you might want to think about:

  • Think about your special relationships. These might be with a spouse, parent, sibling, lover or special friend. What has threatened to break these relationships? How did you restore the relationship after it was broken? Does this help understand what Paul is writing about the relationship of God to believers?
  • What surprised you the most about this chapter?
  • Give me some feedback. What is still unclear or puzzling about this chapter to you? What would you like to know more about?
Last updated 3/22/2007; first posted 10/28/00; original content © 2007, 2000 John P. Nordin